The former Pennsylvania senator thinks the Declaration of Independence gives us the right only to seek pleasure insofar as we do God's will.
Rick Santorum is continuing to invoke the Declaration of Independence as if its words imply that his brand of social conservatism is enshrined in the founding documents of the United States. In doing so, he has gradually revealed his unusual interpretation of the phrase "the pursuit of happiness."
Here's how he sees it:
"Happiness" actually had a different definition, way back at the time of our founders. Like many words in our lexicon, they evolve and change over time. "Happiness" was one of them. Go back and look it up. You'll see one of the principle definitions of happiness is "to do the morally right thing." God gave us rights to life and to freedom to pursue His will. That's what the moral foundation of our country is.
On several occasions, James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal has insisted that the former Pennsylvania senator is being mischaracterized -- that people like me are mistaken when we complain that Santorum's beliefs are incompatible with the Declaration of Independence, insofar as he asserts that upholding what he regards to be God's will, for the ostensible benefit of society, is more important than permitting individuals to pursue happiness as they define it for themselves.